In California, homeowner's associations must comply with multiple laws, including the Davis-Stirling Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The latter two laws mostly are concerned with discrimination in housing. The Davis-Stirling Act is a comprehensive law that governs in great detail how HOAs are operated.
HOAs are required to follow the terms of the Davis-Stirling Act. Since the law contains nearly 100 separate statutes and many subparts, HOAs have numerous duties under the act. When residents believe that their HOA has violated the law, only some of the statutes contained within the act enact penalties.
One provision that exacts penalties deals with assessments by HOA boards. HOAs are allowed to increase their assessments by up to 20 percent. However, they can only do so after they have distributed their annual budgets to the residents. If they fail to disclose the budget, they will instead have to hold an election and a vote by the residents. Other rules in the law that impose penalties include membership inspection rights violations, election law violations and improper vehicle tows. People are able to file lawsuits against their HOAs when these laws are violated.
HOA disputes sometimes arise between the homeowner's associations and the residents. Individuals who are involved in a conflict with their HOAs might want to talk to real estate attorneys who are familiar with the Davis-Stirling Act and its provisions. Lawyers may advise their clients about whether the HOAs have violated the provisions of the law. If they have, attorneys may file lawsuits on behalf of their clients against the HOAs to protect their clients' rights. They may also be able to negotiate resolutions to their clients' disputes with the HOAs to arrive at a reasonable solution to the issues.